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'Zakka: Goods and Things'

Feb 16, 2016

'Zakka: Goods and Things'

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Feb. 26-June 5 During Japan’s postwar economic boom, the term “zakka,” which literally means “uncategorizable things,” was usually used for mundane everyday tools and objects such as kettles, brooms and buckets. Since then, it has evolved to mean miscellaneous goods of a much broader ...

Dutch painters cut from the same canvas

Feb 9, 2016

Dutch painters cut from the same canvas

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The first noticeable thing about the exhibition “Vermeer and Rembrandt: the Masters of the 17th Century Dutch Golden Age” at the Mori Arts Center Gallery is the juxtaposition of the names. Vermeer’s name comes before that of Rembrandt, marking him as the leading Dutch ...

Drawing on film to highlight hyperreality

Feb 9, 2016

Drawing on film to highlight hyperreality

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“Following the other, one replaces him, exchanges lives, passions, wills, transforms oneself in the other’s stead. It is perhaps the only way man can finally fulfill himself. An ironic way, but all the more certain.” This quotation from Jean Baudrillard’s 1983 essay “Please Follow ...

Japan's picture ID before World War II

Feb 2, 2016

Japan's picture ID before World War II

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Last year, the number of tourists coming into Japan outnumbered those going out for the first time in 45 years. In absolute terms, it may be the first time that tourism has properly taken off for this country, despite numerous attempts by various ministries ...

Getting sentimental about the Pre-Raphaelites

Feb 2, 2016

Getting sentimental about the Pre-Raphaelites

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Sometimes even provincial cities in the West seem to have much greater public art resources than Japan’s capital. This is driven home by a video at the “Pre-Raphaelite and Romantic Painting from National Museums Liverpool” exhibition now on at Tokyo’s Bunkamura The Museum. The ...

The frayed edges of modern Japan

Jan 19, 2016

The frayed edges of modern Japan

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In the Edo Period (1603-1868) and the years that followed, Japan made strenuous efforts to bring together its patchwork of feudal regions into a strongly centralized state with a unified culture. Accordingly, the nation now is one of the most homogenous in the world. ...

Artist arrested for posing naked beside painting of a nude in Paris museum

Jan 18, 2016

Artist arrested for posing naked beside painting of a nude in Paris museum

A woman has been arrested for indecent exposure after lying down naked in Paris’s Musee d’Orsay in front of Edouard Manet’s similarly nude painting of the prostitute Olympia, her lawyer said Sunday. Museum-goers were enjoying an exhibition entitled “Splendor and Misery: Images of Prostitution ...

Idem Paris: Worlds apart and yet so close

Jan 12, 2016

Idem Paris: Worlds apart and yet so close

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Before photography became a relatively affordable pastime at the beginning of the 20th century, lithographic prints were touted as the democratic image-making medium that could reach all classes of society. At the same time, because the design was drawn directly onto stone, it could ...

Gabriel Orozco: always ahead of the game

Jan 12, 2016

Gabriel Orozco: always ahead of the game

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Gabriel Orozco has returned to Tokyo. Following his retrospective “Inner Circles” at the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo in early 2015, “Visible Labor” at Rat Hole Gallery is a collection of new works that explore Orozco’s classic themes of the city, transportation and games, ...

The difficulty of being Frank Gehry

Jan 5, 2016

The difficulty of being Frank Gehry

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The exhibition “Frank Gehry: I Have an Idea,” currently at 21_21 Design Sight and curated by fellow architect Tsuyoshi Tane, crams in a lot, but it’s not exactly a linear retrospective. Rather, it’s an upward look at a man on a tightrope — a ...